It was anxious moments when Spurs forward, Harry Kane limped off with an ankle injury after 33 minutes in a 4-1 victory away to Bournemouth. Speculation began as to the severity of the injury and the duration he’d be sidelined, rehabilitating the ankle in order to return to fitness. In just 2 weeks Kane put in a 16 minute cameo appearance in a 3-1 loss to Chelsea last week. Where does that leave fantasy owners for the run in?
I’ll admit, I have and was a Kane owner, but a very disgruntled one at that. His play this season, when owned and captained has been less than spectacular. Capped five times in the first 8 gameweeks, Kane responded with just a single, 26-point return in Gameweek 7. My opinion for Kane would more positive had I heeded the warning of his August form, accounting for no returns in the first 3 weeks of the season, seemingly unable to score but with good underlying statistics maybe I would feel differently towards Kane.
His inconsistent play was painful and caused frustration from many fantasy managers. While patience was an attribute I had looked to follow, I didn’t have any with the forward, who’s price was £12.5 to start the season locked up a good percentage of our budget. Yet, it was a case of take a chance and run without Kane, losing out big IF he hit during a selected gameweek. Many fantasy managers remember how he devastated the end of the 2015/16 season.
The fear and high expectation that Kane is chasing Mohammad Salah for the Golden Boot, an award he’s received the last two seasons. That hunger and drive could fuel Kane to capitalize on his underlying stats and have a stretch like last season. Looking at the top forwards from this season, the numbers all favor Kane, in and around the goal.
For Kane, penalty touches, total attempts, attempts in the box and big chances taken all stand out when it comes to performance this season. However, things are not as they appear. Over the course of 32 gameweeks, minus him not playing GW10 and missing GW31 (injury), he’s posted 9 double digit scores. Compared to last year, he’s one better through just 32 gameweeks and two better than the 2015/16 season. In terms of performance he’s posted his best statistics to date, this season.
I’ve tracked Kane all season, as he’s a factor in how my season has progressed to date. To start the season, he returned four double digit scores in the first 10 weeks. Frustrated with his inconsistency I captained him five times over that period, but missed out on two 13-point returns. In Gameweek 9 I activated my Free Hit Chip, dropping Kane from the starting XI, a game in which he scored 16 points. Not captaining Kane lost me 43 points over that period.
His lack of goals saw me prematurely go with a “no Kane strategy” that was a calculated risk, opting for Alvaro Morata (and Eden Hazard) in place of the Spurs assets. Just a few weeks later Jay Egersdorff proposed his #KANEXIT strategy, which turned the fantasy world (on Twitter) upside down. To think of running out a starting XI without Kane. The horror! Needless to say, Kane went on to punish me, Jay and other those decided to go another direction. His back to back hat tricks in GW17 and GW18 sealed the deal.
So what’s the plan now that Kane has been deemed fit? Over the last 6 gameweeks (not incl. GW31), Kane has scored just 3 goals on 16 total chance, 14 from inside the box and 5 big chances taken. His 23 penalty touches are half of Roberto Firmino’s total (45) and his 7 shots on target are three less than the Liverpool forward. Looking ahead, the positive nod is given to Kane and Spurs who are away to Stoke City in GW33, while Everton host Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby. Stoke gave up 3 goals last weekend, late to Arsenal, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang grabbing a brace. Spurs offense could decimate the Potters this weekend.
Spurs double in Gameweek 34, home to Man City and Brighton. Much like DGW22, an ill Kane played 22 minutes against Swansea and didn’t return against West Ham. Will he get all 180 minutes over DGW34 to play? Earlier in the season against these teams he didn’t return against either. Could Poch limit his time, as he eases him back into a full 90 minutes, giving priority to the FA Cup, as distancing themselves from 5th place, Chelsea and a UCL spot next season.
Ahead of GW33, I have £2.1 ITB and Aubameyang as my premium forward. It would be a one move transfer to bring Kane in against Stoke, holding him over for DGW34 and beyond. Arsenal doesn’t double until GW37, but have good fixtures for the run in. On the back of 4 green arrows, I am not sure I want to chance the forward, the cheeky ankle a questionable double. It appears that GW36 would provide a better opportunity to bring Kane back to the starting XI, as Spurs hosted Watford, who have struggled on the road. Remember, Salah put 4 goals past the Hornets, could Kane reproduce that level of output?
DGW37 has two good fixtures, away to West Brom and home to Newcastle, which appear to offer a better chance at back to back starts. If Spurs advance in the semi-finals, the would play on May 19 in the finals. That’s 10 days rest after playing Newcastle. Rotation shouldn’t be a risk. At this point, chasing Salah, the England international will be primed to potentially overtake the Egyptian to win his third, consecutive Golden Boot.
Unless some very compelling evidence shows up between today and Saturday kickoff, Kane won’t feature in my starting XI until DGW37. It would mean an additional -4 hit to the transfers remaining between now and the double. The last challenge becomes, when to activate the Trip Captain and Bench Boost?
Currently, DGW37 is set up for the Bench Boost chip, which means I need to look elsewhere for the TC to go. DGW34 is the only other option at this point, but I am not against tossing it on Salah in GW34 (BOU), GW36 (STO) or GW38 (BHA).